Our Mt Eden physio clinic is where a lot of sportspeople come to seek ongoing treatment for meniscal injuries in the knee. At this time of year, it is mainly cricketers who suffer from this sports injury and it’s easy to see why when you look at the unnatural pressures this sport exerts on the body.
In many ways, our bodies weren’t created to play cricket! You can say the same about any sport but when you see the strains placed on shoulders, backs, ankles and knees during the course of a game of cricket, you understand why so many elite players are injured so frequently; this is especially true of fast bowlers, who really punish themselves. The medial and lateral meniscii in their knees are just two things that are prone to damage.
The medial meniscus is located in the inner side of the knee while the lateral meniscus is found on the outer part of the knee. Of the two, the lateral meniscus is less likely to be injured, but this may occur when the knee twists. It’s the medial meniscus which is far more prone to injury simply because it is attached to the medial ligament. While a small tear may respond to a non-surgical approach of rest and rehabilitation, a severe tear usually requires surgery.
The medial meniscus is an area of cartilage found at the top of the tibia bone – the shinbone – which connects to the knee joint. Cartilage is a resilient and smooth elastic tissue; it’s rubber-like padding that covers and protects the ends of long bones at the joints. Think of cartilage as a shock absorber and you’ll get some idea of how it helps to cushion the knee when you’re running, walking, bending and jumping. In the case of a sportsperson who performs extreme twisting and rotating movements as part of what they do e.g. fast bowling, then a meniscal knee injury is always a distinct possibility.
Life is unpredictable and you can incur a meniscal knee injury at work, in the garden, on the bowling green…you don’t have to be an elite cricketer, or rugby player, or netball player to suffer, although it’s more likely to happen at this level. When it does occur, that “shock absorber” effect disappears and is replaced with a popping sensation, swelling, a feeling of your knee locking (feeling locked in place) and, of course, pain.
Thankfully, we’re well practised at treating meniscal knee injuries so if it ever happens to you, contact us and we’ll do our very best to get you fully mobile again.